A national campaign to promote a savings culture and financial literacy has kicked off. The drive, spearheaded by the Association of Microfinance Institutions Rwanda (AMIR) and Germany-based Savings Foundation for International Co-operation (SBFIC), is part of the activities to mark the annual National Savings Week, according to Peter Rwema, the AMIR secretary general.
Rwema said the national savings week is also geared at supporting MFIs and SACCOs.
Activities for the savings week, which started on Monday in Kayonza District, will end on October 30 with national celebrations in Rulindo District Northern Province. They are being conducted under the theme, “Savings, make it a culture”.
Rwanda targets to achieve a financial inclusion rate of up to 80 per cent by 2018.
Rwema said AMIR seeks to take financial education to the grassroots level by targeting schools, teachers, village leaders and parents to boost the country’s capacity to mobilise savings.
“We are targeting children and students because it is important to inculcate a savings culture among young people at an early age. This will boost deposits in financial institutions and create a financially-literate population that will contribute to the country’s economic growth,” he said.
AMIR is targeting to establish at least over 700 savings clubs in schools countrywide as part of the strategy to achieve these targets.
According to Jean Pierre Uwizeye, the programmes manager at AMIR, the initiative will, not only promote a savings culture in schools, but also create entrepreneurial awareness at the grassroots level.
Eric Rwigamba, the director for financial sector development at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, urged Rwandans to embrace the culture of saving with banks for the country to become prosperous.
He said more savings mean that the private sector can access funds to invest in activities that spur the country’s development agenda and ensure sustainable growth.
Last year, the Ministry of Finance launched a financial literacy campaign to educate the public about the different financial issues, and to encourage Rwandans to save with the different financial institutions, including banks, MFIs and village Saccos.
Meanwhile, the central bank has said countries that encourage and nurture a savings culture gain a competitive advantage over time, besides their citizens having better standards of living.
“Higher savings reserves mean that consumers have cushions that can help absorb overwhelming expenses during economic slowdown. Saving also helps to create deep and liquid capital markets, as well as a dynamic entrepreneurial economy,” the National Bank of Rwanda noted.